An Office may be regarded as a place where the control mechanisms of an organisation are located.
The complexities of business activities are increasing day by day. With the spectacular developments and advances in the fields of science and technology, the manufacturing techniques have undergone a rapid change. The economies of large-scale production have brought into being several multinational business organisations. The ever-widening markets also pose a challenge by themselves. The complexities of legal provisions (of industrial and business legislation), which are subject to constant change, to achieve social objectives, also require more than adequate attention.
Moreover, modern management has to take care of the new emerging human relations in business. All these problems can be satisfactorily tackled only when adequate information is available. All the members require information about an enterprise. An efficient and effective organisation and management must possess all the information it needs to enable it to come to a variety of decisions. To retain knowledge, to analyse it and furnish it for the management, are the essential functions of a modern office. So much so that the phrase ‘Information Management’ has gained currency in preference to the older one ‘Office Management’. The reason is that information management connotes more precisely the activities performed by a modern Office.
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What is a Modern Office
The modern approach to the study of the term Office is to view it as a function rather than a particular place. When an Office is regarded as a function, it can plan, organise, coordinate, standardise and supervise paperwork, wherever it is done, and whosoever does it.
Each Office has a personality of its own. This personality is a reflection of the purposes for which an Office exists. The Manufacturing Office will have a profile that differs from that of the Sales Office. The accounting Office will have a different orientation from a research and development Office. In organising a new Office, the Office Manager must first determine the prime reason for the existence of that Office and then add the necessary ingredients to bring about an efficient operating entity that achieves predetermined results. Although offices differ from one another in prime responsibility, many activities are commonly carried out by all the Offices. Some of these activities are Processing Incoming Mail; Processing Outgoing Mail; Dictation; Transcription; Typing; Printing; Copying; Filing; Records Retrieval; Records Disposal; and Communication.
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The functions of a modern Office may be classified into two categories:
Basic functions (or routine functions)
- Receiving Information
- Recording Information
- Arranging Information
- Giving Information
Some of the administrative management functions are mentioned below:
1) Management processes:
For the effective performance of an office’s primary functions, the management processes need to be properly carried out. Planning, controlling and organising are the three main management processes. According to the objectives and policies of the management, office work can be planned. A planned work can provide for effective performance. The office can control the performance through the proper direction.
2) Office systems and procedures:
For the efficient and economical performance of office operations, well-planned office systems and procedures are necessary. Each part of the process needs to be carefully analysed.
3) Purchase of stationery:
Basics needs like office forms and stationery are like the essentials of an office. These stationaries need to be systematically planned and bought. It is the function of the modern office for standardisation of this purchase process and distribution of it to various departments when required.
4) Fixed assets:
Fixed assets like furniture, fixtures, equipment, plants, machinery, computer, etc. are an essential need for a modern office. There is a need for these fixed assets in an office for its efficient and economical functioning. The purchase of these fixed assets needs to be done systematically so that the office work stays uninterrupted. Also, these fixed assets should be properly assigned to various departments to ensure optimum utilisation.
Selection, training, placement and remuneration of personnel are referred to as staffing. With proper staffing, an office can achieve an efficient and economical performance of office work. Staffing is not an easy job. External staffing and internal staffing requires qualified and experienced employees who need to be selected and trained before placement.
6) Assets safeguarding:
An organisation’s assets need to be safeguarded against misuse, loss or damage by theft, fire, or any other means. For the proper functioning of an organisation, there is a need of essential assets. Therefore, proper records of these assets need to be maintained.
7) Public relations:
An office has the ability to receive public such as customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, government officials and many more. The interests of these people are different in nature. These interests need to be fulfilled by the office.
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